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Kick-Ass Landing Page 101 – 3 Steps to Amp Up Your Website Traffic AND Your Conversions

Convert visitors to leads to customers — guide them down the funnel. It all begins with a great landing page.

For most of us, the entire purpose of a website is to bring people to our business, provide us with interested leads, and ideally, make sales. But, of course, it’s not that easy. The “build it and they will come” model is beyond past its sell-by date.

Enter the landing page – the key to converting visitors into leads. Your landing page, that page on your website dedicated exclusively to sales, is the first integral step to develop that valuable relationship between your business and a potential customer. It’s also the page you will most often link to for all of your digital advertising (NOT YOUR HOME PAGE!).

Your landing page is designed for sales – to convert visitors into leads

Unlike the rest of your website, a good landing page is designed specifically to pitch and sell — and to appeal to visitors’ to sign up and leave their email address.

It’s different from the other pages on your website in a variety of ways:

  1. It includes a signup form so you can capture a visitor’s information in exchange for some kind of perk or offer

  2. The singular objective of the landing page is to convert visitors into leads (a website home page with a form doesn’t cut it – the page has multiple purposes and doesn’t multitask effectively!).

  3. Your landing page has no navigation. It is simple and free of distractions. It merely contains a bit of engaging, compelling sales copy and a form used to gather visitor information.
  4. Every business and website that engages in sales should have at least one.

3 Steps to create a great landing page

  1. Write a compelling headline – take your time! It’s been said that 80 cents of every marketing dollar should be spent on creating an ass-kicking headline. Keep this in mind as your brainstorming. The headline is the one element of content you don’t want to underestimate – it’s the first thing visitors see when they click through and land on your page. A great headline will keep people on the page and encourage them to seriously consider your offer. To help guide your brainstorming here are three essential headline components to keep in mind:
    • Clarity: Be direct and get to the point. Clearly identify what it is you make, sell, or do so there is no ambiguity about what you are offering.
    • Relevancy: You have to fulfill what you claimed or promised in the ad. Be sure that the information between your ad and your landing page corresponds —  message match so that you meet (or exceed) your visitors’ expectations. You don’t want them to be disappointed!
    • Empathy: You are solving a problem for your visitor. Connect with them on that level — let them know that you understand how they feel.
    • TIP: There are four ways to create a strong, compelling headline: start with a “how-to” the solution to a problem your business offers; ask a question in the headline – answer it in the subheading that immediately follows; use humour; include your unique value proposition (UVP) – provide an irresistible reason to read on, signup, and want to know more (and why you’re distinct from your competitors).  
  2. Great copy and engaging media. It’s going to be all about the language and visuals. Solid, quality, persuasive copy is critical. This could be your one chance to make your point and entice your visitor to start down the funnel – and convince them to convert. Include the benefits of your product or service, your UVP, etc. You might as well face it, despite all the work you will put into your landing page copy, the sad fact is, most Internet users simply don’t like to read web page copy – so use media! There are three primary types available to most of us: images, video, and gifs (animated, interactive images terrific for presenting offers – a wonderful substitute for videos!
  3. Lead capture form. This is why you’ve set up the page! Your lead capture form will collect your visitor’s information – what you’re after to build a comprehensive email list (arguably, still the most effective digital marketing tactic). A few tips for designing an effective form:
    • Only ask for basic information from your prospects – you don’t want to intimidate them!
    • Ensure your page copy and media are well organized to encourage visitors to complete and submit the form.
    • Your form MUST be strategically placed on the landing page.

There is certainly more to take into consideration when it comes to creating an effective landing page. But this should be enough to develop a solid page in which to link in your advertising.

If you’d like to learn more about landing pages, developing optimized web and blog content, or your larger content marketing strategy, upended creative would love to help — LET’S CHAT

 

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Creative Content in Your Digital Marketing Strategy Works… Even If Your Niche Might Be A Little Boring

Examine your content in 2020. Digital marketing includes so many components, but the content you create or curate is what helps define your brand — whether it’s beauty products, food, or accounting.

I, like every other entrepreneur out there, want to know what will be most effective to draw eyeballs, generate leads and, well, put food in the babies’ mouths.  My babies are all teens and beyond, so consider food in mouths a never-freaking-ending and expensive endeavour (read:  hire me, pleeeeease!)

I’ll talk content marketing for 2020… but it’s gotta be creative content

Here’s the deal: content still reigns supreme.  And 2019 is going to see a whole lot more of it!  But, more than ever, it’s going to be creative content that gets those valuable eyeballs and those essential click-throughs to increase your chances of conversion.

What does that mean if you have a business that is less than creative?  What if your niche is actually pretty dry and boring?

Creative content has redefined and repositioned several pretty boring businesses that have become part of our general cultural lexicon.  Think Geico and the adorable Geico Gecko; the obnoxious but infectious Aflac duck; and, doubling down on boring niches, toilet paper employing the adorable Scotties kittens back in the day or the cuddly Charmin bears who seem to have no shame over-sharing about their wiping habits.

You may have a boring product but your marketing and content certainly don’t have to be.

The first rule of thumb for developing creative content:  go visual!

Instagram and Snapchat have raised the bar for what effective and engaging content means.  It’s all about the images, the video, the animation.

The centuries (???) old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” couldn’t possibly have more relevance than it does today.

Images, whether still or moving, catch our attention.  It is VITALLY important that you, and whomever you’ve hired to assist (ahem!), approach all of your digital marketing collateral from a visual perspective.

Repeat after me:  I pledge that no post, whether it be a blog, Facebook or twitter, shall be published without a corresponding, relevant image, animation or video.

Creative content for content marketing

Everyone loves a good story

What kind of stories can be told about your product, service or business?  Who are your clients?  What are your client’s concerns?  What problem are you solving?

We can get even a little more, let’s say, transcendent, about this:  what is a common theme that runs throughout your target audience that resonates, defines or connects?

There are brands selling boring products that have discovered the power of story-telling, going deep to tap into our sentimentality, our need to belong, and possibly even our insecurities to enjoy hugely increased profile and profits.

Without overtly selling you soap, Dove directed their attention, and yours, to beauty as a concept and what it means to us as women individually, and as a movement.  Dove implies that they stand for beauty in all it’s forms regardless of size, race, age; flying in the face of the ridiculous and harmful media-driven standards that drive us all to relative madness.  In this effort, Dove endeavours to stand apart, and above, taking a moral and ethical position on women’s beauty and empowerment… as opposed to simply selling us yet another boring bar of soap.

Always keep in mind, content marketing is more than simply a product pitch.  Rather than talking about a product, look to content marketing to drive value outside the products and services you offer.

You NEED a content strategy

In what is a veritable freaking sea of content, understand that winging it is going to cost you money and time.  Help stem the marketing hemorrhage and develop a coherent and focused direction to best communicate with your target audience.

From blogs to all the other channels of social media you already, or will begin to employ; determine not only what kind of content, what kind of messaging, but the voice in which you will create it, to maximize your marketing spending.

The unfortunate fact is, most businesses do not have a documented content marketing strategy.   Those organizations that do have one and that review it consistently, however, are more likely to be successful. Again, it’s not just about what you’re selling, what else can you be doing – or communicating – to build a relationship, trust and value?

There you have it:  a few quickies to set you off on your 2017 creative content marketing way!

Which brings me to… well, me.  If you’d like more information on how to best implement any of the above, or, better yet, have upended creative implement any of the above, talk to me!

I would love to hear about your boring product or service and help you use creative content and content marketing to sell the hell out of it!

CONTACT ME to schedule a FREE CONTENT CONSULTATION!

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5 Fool-Proof Social Media Musts to Grow Your Small Business

Let’s face it… growing a successful small business can be nothing short of a f*cking grind!

Even if it’s founded on something you’re passionate about. Maybe especially so, as all of your time, energy – sweat, blood, tears! – and money goes into the development of this product or service that has excited and inspired you enough to jump into the abyss and build a business around it in the first place.

Enhancing Your Social Media Presence Can Be Easy – Really!!

The biggest part of the grind often comes with the promotion and marketing necessary to build a business.  It’s unusual when the business owner is not only great at what they do but that they’re also great at the marketing end of things. If only!

Specifically, it can be the additional challenge of growing what has become a mandatory social media presence that can confuse, frustrate, and overwhelm entrepreneurs on their way to success. Consequently, the important online marketing work often takes a back seat as all of the valuable resources (mental, physical, spiritual, and financial) are being spent, or are consistently under strain keeping the business afloat and moving forward.

But… it doesn’t have to! I’m here to reassure you that you CAN do this. Social media is relatively simple in its implementation, and with regular, consistent activity can help to grow your audience, increase engagement, and, ultimately, begin to translate to viable leads.

Say it with me: I CAN F*CKING DO THIS!! To help get started, simply schedule 15 minutes to half an hour each day to devote to developing your social media practice. The steps listed below are designed to take some of the grunt- and guess-work out of it!

What to know more?? Click HERE to receive our easy and effective Intro Social Media Strategy specially designed for small businesses.

Baby steps – five easy social media fundamentals to get you going:

1. Identify Goals & Objectives

This first step is HUGE! You MUST identify what you want your social media presence to accomplish.  Do you want to increase following and likes (I recommend this as the first goal, regardless)? Drive traffic to your website or blog? Generate sales?

Make sure you know what you’re after – before you start posting. Know which platforms are best for your product or service and how they work as well as what audiences you can reach, where.

2. Understand the Needs of Your Audience

This is all about identifying pain point, really. The needs of your audience help you interact with them on a much more personal, intimate level. If you know what content is most relevant, what’s important to them, and what they want to read, it will go along way in illuminating what you need to provide them. Get your head around this and, with each post, you can give them what they want which, ideally, inspires them to explore further your product or service – visiting your various channels of social media as well as your website or blog.

3. Produce Valuable Content

This is your opportunity to translate your passion for what you do to the social media content you offer your following. People who visit your social media channels or website are often asking ‘What’s in it for me?’ and you want to be sure that you are providing information across channels that answers that question with content of value. Whether it’s a unique insight into your industry; a funny quote, image, or both; or any other content that isn’t merely a sales pitch.

Be sure to incorporate relevant visuals – photos, videos, infographics help catch the eye in a cluttered feed, drawing interest and engagement.

Providing rich content helps set you apart as an authority in your space, inspire the trust of your following, as well as showcase your business and website, which brings in more customers and more money.

4. Incorporate Fun: Games, Contests, Giveaways!

If there’s a sure-fire way to get conversations going and generate interest in your content, it’s to bring the fun!  Incorporate activities that beg responses to questions – trivia games, or “caption this” requests – to build engagement, generating likes, follows, shares, and traffic.

In line with the ‘What’s in it for me?’ agenda, give away something for free.  This isn’t a random something. In exchange for likes, shares, or email addresses to build your list, make sure your giveaway is something designed to draw your visitors further into your business, now as well as into the future. It doesn’t have to be expensive.  It can be a free sample of your product, a discount code, perhaps a short trial, or the e-book you’ve written.

Engaging in a fun way with your audience is a terrific way to earn and keep valuable followers who will stay engaged, looking forward to the content you provide.

5. Give Your Audience a Reason!

You want to approach every post you create from the perspective of giving your customers, existing and potential, a reason to like your page, follow your profiles and continue to receive your content. Demonstrate your commitment to them by posting interesting, valuable updates consistently and frequently providing them a reason, day after day, to stick with you.  Not only looking forward to what you have to say but because of the increasing interest in your business!

What to know more?? Click HERE to receive our easy and effective Intro Social Media Strategy specially designed for small businesses.

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Is Facebook Still Relevant For My Business?

Yes, yes, and YES!

No question, with all that’s befallen the social media behemoth in recent months, it’s certainly fair to ponder whether or not Facebook is still relevant – to average, everyday users as well as your business.

Enjoy the Best of Both: Photos of Your Granny’s New Boyfriend AND Effective, Targeted Marketing

And, no matter how you might feel about Facebook with regards to your personal social media practices, the fact is, it’s still a gigantic boon for any business, big or small, for growing following, increasing engagement, and driving more web traffic and leads your way.

The fact remains, that with more than 2 billion active users, Facebook is still the go-to for all of us, regardless recent news alerting us to data breaches, compromised security, and Zuckerburg frigging around with algorithms.

It’s also a cheap and effective way to market your business.

Admittedly, given the algorithm changes implemented earlier this year, using Facebook for business purposes has become more a little more challenging, but it’s still, hands down, one of the best tools for communicating with your target audience.

Organic, original content is terrific and posting aggressively is encouraged.  But where Facebook shines for business, is through the specific targeting of paid advertising campaigns.

Regardless how you may feel about it personally, Facebook knows a sh*t-ton about its users (more than you may actually be comfortable with!) and this information is used to your significant advantage when you work with their advert program.

facebook advertising

Leverage the social media giant, as well as your content, to drive traffic and grow your following, and ultimately, your business:

  1. Promoting blog content.  You really should have a blog and here’s why: we can’t say enough about sharing and “boosting” a solid blog post on your Facebook business page that succinctly – and entertainingly – identifies your product or service, or a particular element thereof, providing value to readers and potential followers/leads. It’s super effective at driving traffic to your website, as well as establishing your authority in your space.
  2. Call to Action. Facebook offers you really convenient ways to get click throughs to your product, service or website for either purchase or more information.  You can add a call-to-action button to the top of your page to encourage visitors to interact. Things you can have customers do include get in touch, shop, sign up, or download an app or game. Facebook recently rolled out some new call-to-action options to give you a wider selection of buttons to display for your page visitors.
  3. Allow for Reviews. A terrific trust-builder!  On the left-hand side of your page, you can add a link for reviews. Here, customers can leave a star rating and write a review on your business. Reviews and ratings show up at the top of your page. These reviews help verify your business and make it easy for satisfied customers to recommend your product.
  4. Community Page. This page is where posts, photos and videos from customers can be posted. Customers can also check in to your store here. The Community Page is a great place for your audience to interact and share, while learning more about your company.

Techniques to Make Facebook Work for Your Business… Effectively & Inexpensively

  1. Know Your Audience. Take advantage of the great targeting tools provided by Facebook. As already mentioned, they know who they’re users are and, by default, can target your audience based on parameters you set. Of course, you need to know who you’re trying to sell to first, but with Facebook’s help you are able to target specific demographics, locations and interest groups.
  2. Be Conversational NOT Sales Pitch-y!  You want to connect with your audience not merely sell to them.  While you may have created a Facebook business page to grow your customers, your audience won’t respond well if they feel as though you’re always trying to sell them your product or service with every post. Try to be personable in your Facebook posts. Help your audience feel comfortable with you by sharing more than just marketing and promotional content.
  3. Contests & Giveaways! Everybody loves the opportunity to get something for free! Take advantage of this and offer a great prize in exchange for post or page likes, comments, and shares.  Contests and giveaways are a terrific way to encourage engagement and following. Just be sure that they’re relevant to your product or service. As you’re wanting to attract the ideal audience for your business, give away something they value, not simply a random something or other.
  4. Share Great Content from Other Sources. Relying on your own original content all the time can be onerous and, really, isn’t always practical.  Rather, consider building your authority an open source affair. If another source is talking about something relevant, interesting, entertaining, informative, or beneficial to your target audience in any way, go ahead and share it!
  5. Engage With Your Engagement – no drive-by posting!  If you’ve gone to the time and effort to create and share valuable posts, go ahead and respond to any comments, questions and concerns. If you’re having conversations with your audience, they’re more likely to become your customers.It’s important to note that this past January 2018, Facebook announced it was making major changes to its newsfeed algorithm. With this change, Facebook now prioritizes personal connections and engagement. Bottom line: your posts won’t be seen unless they generate a conversation.
  6. Use Video! Nothing stops the eyeball quite like a moving picture! Video is super effective at drawing in those precious eyeballs in this era of shortening attention spans. It doesn’t have to be long and involved – short and sweet works!  Take advantage of video tools such as Facebook Live and Boomerang to attract viewers to your post as they scroll their feeds.
  7. Facebook Adverts! Really, THE best way to reach your desired audience is to run Facebook ads. Yes, they’ll cost you money, but it’s so reasonable compared to the other means of advertising you might be used to paying for.  Facebook ads are so worth what you’ll spend and they’re so darned effective because you can choose your targeted audience based on demographics, behaviors or contact information. Choose a daily or overall budget for ads, select the amount of time an ad runs, and adjust your desired audience, based on who you know your potential customer to be. Even more helpful, Facebook tracks the interactions on each promotion you run, which can help you develop highly successful campaigns in future.

 

 

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The Power of Content: Shaping a Culture Around Your Business

When it comes to approaching social media and the other communications deployed to build a brand or business it’s important to understand the significance of content and how it can be instrumental in developing and shaping the culture around your business.

Have you ever thought about your business in terms of culture?  Have you thought about the experience you’re providing to prospective clientele when they encounter or engage with your business?

These terms, when it comes to building a business are not typically given much consideration.  Marketing tends towards active advertising, promotion and selling rather than building an experience.

How do you feel when you’re being sold to?

We eagerly develop pitches and work to employ recommended techniques all geared to the end-game of generating leads, and ideally, sales; but how have we engaged our mission, values and personality to ensure that our communications represent the full picture of our business and ourselves, as entrepreneurs?Connect rather than simply sell.

UX, or User Experience, is often referenced when we talk about the performance of websites and apps,  but rarely do we explore the concept when it comes to the promotion of products and/or services – the business, itself.

Developing and shaping the culture, the experience, digitally – providing for the UX – is essential for growing a brand and business that looks to build trust as well as a sense of authority in the space.  Where, because of the type and quality of information you consistently provide, prospective clients feel compelled to engage with your business.

Look at your digital presence.  Explore your website and other communications, as well as digital assets, and see what they’re providing in UX. Try to evaluate the experience visitors might be having with your brand and whether or not there’s a culture developing that they might connect to.

What are you offering your audience before you try to sell them?

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Social Media & Content Marketing: Is it Good for Small Business?

Did you know that one in five relationships and one in six marriages was initiated online?  Over 67 percent of consumers utilize social media for customer service. The average person spends around an hour and 40 minutes browsing social media every day, and the number of internet shoppers in the US will reach 217 million, having spent about $4.846 TRILLION DOLLARS last year.

At this point in the Internet Age it’s evident everyone is pretty much on board with the power of social media in our lives, from dating to shopping to business development.

However, as a small business that caters to the online marketing needs of small and medium sized businesses and organizations I continue to encounter a big disconnect between small business owners and their concept of what social media means to their business.  Despite the fact that many of them are certainly part of the statistics mentioned above, they are still reticent about it embracing it as part of their over all marketing mix.

While I do successfully sell clients on the importance of Social Media and Content Marketing… it ain’t easy!

This isn’t to knock all the hard working folks in small business.  Not at all.

The fact is, in an effort to save precious marketing pennies, it’s not unusual for owners of small businesses to take a very hands on, DIY approach, to their online marketing.  Because we feel we have to.

To save money, we small business people will compromise what’s left of our limited hours in a day, taking great care in where we spend our small, if not meagre, marketing budget, but burning through our valuable time as though it were in limitless supply.

Theoretically, tackling online marketing can seem easy.  Most businesses have a Facebook page, after all.  but as a result of not having the expertise or adequate time, the activity is approached so casually as to be completely ineffective.  This haphazard approach, unfortunately, confirms their apprehension about the effectiveness of social media and they miss a great opportunity to expand the reach of their business, grow their following and properly develop an audience that can offer potential leads and prospective clients.

Here are a few vital reasons why social media should be taking greater priority, and, more often that not, be hired out to a professional.  Properly executed social media efforts should:

  1. Collect valuable customer insights:  Through daily active engagement and social listening, you can gather relevant customer data and use that information to make smarter business decisions.
  2. Increase brand awareness:  A presence on social media allows prospective and existing customers to easily find and connect with you.  It’s not unusual, even for brick & mortar businesses, to be frustrated by the fact their business, product or service is still yet relatively unknown to a great number of people in their town or city.  If yours is an online business, you can count on millions more having no idea you exist.
  3. Increase your website traffic:  Not only does social media help you direct people to your website, but the more social media shares you receive, the more positively your search ranking is impacted.  Social media allows you to leverage content to draw visitors from Facebook, twitter or any other channel to your website to learn more about your product or service.
  4. Establish your business as a thought leader in your space:  Social media allows you a free, frequent and far-reaching means to provide the information and resources important to setting you apart from your competition and becoming the ‘go to’ in your space.

To achieve these outcomes, it takes concentrated effort.  It’s strategic and done with explicit intention.  It’s more than a Facebook post of your product or service when you’re feeling obligated to do so.

If you can assign someone in-house with the relevant interest and expertise, good for you – do that!  If you really don’t have anyone, including yourself, that can make the necessary commitment, consider outsourcing to a professional who can fulfill the demands of social media and content marketing in a way that’s going to be meaningful to your business.

Of course, upended creative is happy to take this on for you!  Contact us below to learn more about effective content marketing strategy and implementation to help grow your business.

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Your Content Marketing: It’s Really Quite Simple… Just Not Easy!

I spent a lovely snowy afternoon yesterday talking to the owner of a small business. She was curious how she might amp up and drive more traffic to her website as well as how to build more interest and engagement in her social media, specifically Facebook – tools integral to growing her business and expanding her influence and reach.  Essentially, her content marketing strategy.

She’s eager and willing and wanting to handle it herself — love that!  And I was more than happy to consult with her about her content marketing strategy and how to get the ball rolling more quickly, taking those all-important first steps to get into a routine of taking the reins of her own content marketing.

Content marketing is really quite simple but don’t get to thinking it’s going to be easy!

I was VERY clear with her, as I am with all my clients: the principles of content marketing are really quite simple… they’re just not easy.  It comes down to the consistent and frequent creation and publishing of fresh, valuable content – website and social media – to generate interest and increase engagement. Clients nod with understanding, albeit reluctantly.

Where sh%t gets real is when I start outlining what they have to do, the various actions that inevitably have to happen to see real results.  Explaining even the initial phases of strategy which will require a commitment to consistent action in the form of writing, taking pictures and video, posting, and publishing several times per week… the eyes glaze over, fingers reflexively clench around the pen in hand, an exasperated, beleaguered facepalm.

The fun is talking about target market, the great product or service, all the great information to share.

But, let’s face it… the doing is a whole other can of worms.  My consultations with clients looking to explore how to expand their reach, increase their engagement as well as traffic and, ultimately, see sales and business improve leave them feeling like they CAN do it.  But, unless action is taken in short order following the meeting, the challenge, and challenges, mount.  Excuses abound.

And, of course they do.  Managing a business and taking full responsibility for the active marketing of that business, even a small business, is a butt-load of work.  Overwhelm is inevitable with most small business people, and if they’re not naturally inclined to write and create content, taking that on in addition to the daily workload of running their business is a tough row to hoe.  Unfortunately, it falls off the list of to-do’s and is abandoned altogether.

How do you eat an elephant?  Ummmmm… you don’t!

Forget about the big picture! We don’t want or need to consider the hugeness of the task at hand  Let’s take the anticipated results, the increased sales, the business growth out of this initial equation.

We actually want to go back to the drawing board.  What excites you about your business?  What information do you have that not only will prove valuable to share but will also set you apart from the competition as an authority in your field or marketplace?  What can you share – for free! – that will keep people wanting to know more.

Simply share that!  Share your enthusiasm for what you do; the product or service you provide; the supplementary information that can help build interest and buzz about your business.

6 simple steps to jump-start your content marketing

Here’s the simple outline I gave my client, a physiotherapist offering a range of services from orthopedic and sports medicine to acupuncture to alternative healing therapies, committed to wellness and education:

  • Consider your range of services including the variety of workshops and courses you have in the works.
  • Take notes about each.  Jot simply in point form and make them detailed. Explore how each point might be developed as an independent topic for either blog or Facebook.
  • Monthly: develop a blog post.  The workshops and courses she conducts are perfect for more in-depth, informational posts on the website; same goes for potential impediments such as flat feet or knocked knees that could benefit from a more fleshed-out approach.  Share these posts on social media. Often!  Blog posts can be repurposed over and over with fresh headlines on Facebook.  Great for driving traffic!
  • Twice weekly: Facebook posts with short tips, tricks, advice that include photos and even video as she tends to create these always as a matter of course for work.
  • Don’t be afraid to repurpose blog posts to divvy up for a new and fresh take for your social media. Same goes for your static web pages – that content can be promoted over and over again.
  • JUST DO IT!!!

Given the gist of this post, clearly number 6 is the biggest challenge to seeing this strategy take shape and allow her to more fully develop her goals and actions moving forward.

At the end of the day, what seems a simple enough plan just may not be do-able, for any number of really good reasons.  And THAT’S OK!

Fortunately, that’s where upended creative can come in!  Maybe your step #6 means hiring someone else who has the skills and experience to explore and implement your strategy to help you achieve your goals.  So be it… CONTACT US! We’re more than happy to help!

Meantime, in the spirit of taking action and how, like it or not, is essential to achieving just about everything we do in a day, big or small, take a look at this helpful little gem to help get the juices flowing!

Speaking of… time to get these homeschool kids of mine up and at ’em!  Simple, yes.  Easy?  Are you out of your mind?!?!

 

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The Marketing Funnel of Love: Content Marketing and Funnelling Leads

Marketing your business online can seem enough of a burden that many simply don’t even want to get started (see last post!).  

It wasn’t that long ago that adverts in the local paper, perhaps a radio spot or even a billboard were what you did to let people know you were out there.  It was a relatively known quantity, probably a sure thing at raising the profile of your business and, let’s face it, wonderfully passive.  Pay for a spot, whether it be magazine, TV, radio or billboard… and wait for the phone calls.

Build it, buy ad space… and they will come, right?

Not so, this brave new world of Internet marketing.  Marketing  your business has become a decidedly impassive endeavour.  It requires far more engagement on the part of business person to encourage engagement and, ultimately, legitimate leads on the part of the target market.

Developing leads and increasing sales through the use of blog and/or social media :  creating useful, engaging and perhaps even inspiring content can be the difference between converting a new customer and making a sale or not.  If you’re looking to dip your toe into the roiling waters of what is now known as content marketing here is a bit of an introduction to the route both business and prospect have to travel.

The Content Marketing Funnel is a great tool to help visualize the phases a prospect must experience to go from cold to client. 

Blogs are fantastic facilitators of awareness

… but do very little to facilitate evaluation and conversion.

Unfortunately, most content marketing stops at blogging.  Without a doubt, blogs play a major role in content marketing, but they’re only a part of the bigger picture. You might be surprised to learn that, in most cases, a blog is not actually the most lucrative form of content marketing.

Your content, from blog to social media to email to podcast, helps to set you apart from your competition.  It serves to elevate you as an authority in your market and engages and hopefully grows your community and target audience.  But without providing the necessary content to close the deal, fulfill evaluation and conversion, it’s essentially for naught as I’m sure you’re already painfully aware, it’s these steps that are essential to the growth and success of your business.

Certainly as you consider what takes a cold prospect to paying customer the Content Marketing Funnel will provide you a foundation, some tried and true steps, that can ensure you are growing the awareness, leads and conversions that will grow your business.

Content marketing must incorporate the Marketing Funnel.

Content Marketing Funnel Explained

For that prospect who has no clue who you are or what you do to become your customer they’ll need to travel this funnel.  Let’s take a look at what lies ahead of them in more detail:

  1. Awareness – your prospect must, of course, first become aware that there is a problem and that you and your business have the solution for it. What facilitates the awareness is the content you provide them at the top of the funnel. This is where you dazzle prospects with your informative and entertaining blog posts, photographs, social media updates, graphics, email & newsletters and anything else you might present in digital, audio or print form.  This is your opportunity to educate, inform, inspire and, wherever possible, entertain.  This is often where most content marketing ends.  Make sure you are providing the appropriate content that moves prospects to the next step…
  2. Evaluation – This is where potential customers evaluate the multitude of choices available to them.  This includes what you’re offering as well as that which is offered by your competitors.  Bear in mind, one of the choices is also to take no action at all.  At this stage what are you providing that keeps them moving through the funnel? Coupons or discounts, free resources, maybe simply a quiz or survey to guide their interest. Host a contest or an event, maybe a webinar offering a free introduction to the solution you’re providing.  Don’t forget about testimonial or client stories!  These are fantastic opportunities to provide the confirmation prospects need to move on to the next phase of the funnel.
  3. Conversion – Calls to action!  The moment of potential action… a decision has been made and your lead is buying what you’re selling, so give them ample opportunities to make it so! What was once a prospect needs as many clear opportunities as you can provide to be converted into customer.
  4. Purchase – Ka-ching!  But will it be one purchase or an ongoing relationship resulting in a repeat customer?

 

There is a lot to consider as you lay out your content marketing strategy – a necessary step!! – and the Content Marketing Funnel is an integral part of understanding exactly what steps your prospects will need to travel in order to convert to paying customers.

Want to see what a Content Marketing Funnel might look like for your business?  Scroll down and get yourself a FREE consultation!

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No Time for Social Media?

With a background in design and development, part of creating something useful and effective for the client is understanding exactly how they plan to use their new or refreshed web presence.

With small businesses, who often utilize their website as simply electronic business card, when confronted with the question about Social Media and how actively they plan to engage in it, it’s not unusual for the client to wince, if not outright cringe, and vehemently insist, “No, no social media – I don’t have time to worry about tweeting and Facebook.”

And they’d be right.  They feel as though they don’t.  Particularly if they haven’t done it before.

I’m a content creator.  And, as such I tend to proselytize the power of fresh content and maintaining a variety of channels to promote product and/or service to not only do the important work of building community and audience, but actual business.

As my clients protest, I sit back resigned but understanding, well aware how daunting the task appears.

Chances are you’re using social media on a regular basis already

I don’t leave it there, however.  Social engagement and utilizing social channels are too valuable to let go without a stronger pitch.  I get them thinking about it further by asking a couple of simple questions:

  1. Who is your target market.  To whom will you be directing your more conventional advertising efforts?
  2. What is your favourite way to communicate?  For instance, are you partial to quick, entertaining anecdotes; do you take a lot of pictures with your phone?

 

Social Media for Small Businesses

Only a couple of questions, but they can provide important insights to someone who doesn’t consider marketing through social media right for them.

Chances are pretty good that most people are contributing in some way or other to a particular channel in their regular day-to-day.  It’s just a matter of better directing that effort to marketing their business.

In retail?  Use the snaps you’re already taking to flesh out your Instagram or Facebook accounts as you consider your greater messaging and how that can be implemented in hashtags directed to your market to gain followers.

Have a landscape business?  Same goes.  There’s nothing better than a visual to use before and afters as well as progress snapshots to better promote your services.

Social media becomes yet another business asset

These are only a couple of examples, but they work regardless the industry.  Real estate, construction, technology, you name it… all industries where social media can be effectively leveraged to grow your community, following and, ultimately, leads.

As you build out your content it becomes another asset of your business, creating a space that you occupy, contributing to the value of your product or service.  And, better than your conventional avenues of marketing, largely free.

So, before discounting entirely, ask yourself the two simple questions above, and then give it a go.  If you keep at it a while, you might actually be surprised that you 1. actually might enjoy it a little and, 2. reap the tangible benefits of connecting with your people, growing your following and increasing your potential for leads and sales.

If you’d like more information on how social media will work for your business, please don’t hesitate to ask – scroll down!

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Content Strategy – Do I Need One?

Content Strategy- Do I Need One?

These last few years have seen the veritable explosion of “content” as part of marketing plans. As content marketing finds its place in marketing strategies and budgets, it’s the task of developing an actual content strategy, to more effectively and accurately target content to better connect to and grow audience – and ultimately market share – that is becoming the more desirable, not to mention highly productive, approach.

Content Strategy: As you get to know your audience, you get to know the content that will resonate

With social media largely ubiquitous in business plans large and small, the concepts of content creation, content marketing and content strategy has gained significant parlance in audience engagement in the larger picture of brand development.

Content marketing involves identifying and developing the story that an organization tells and focusing on ways to engage an audience, using content to drive profitable behaviours – likes, shares, link clicks, visits, etc.  Content strategy, on the other hand, digs deeper into the creation, publication and governance of useful content, actually helping an organization manage content as a business asset.  Both essential in a focused marketing approach to better engage, inform and build an audience along with  your business.

Do I need a Content Strategy?

Yes!  Yes, you do!  And here are some reasons why:

  • A content strategy ensures that content is consistent with brand values and messaging.  Identifying to whom, or with whom, you are communicating is part and parcel of developing a content strategy.  Content created on the fly often leads to a collection of disparate and random content with no identifiable focus, theme or purpose. The lack of consistency and directive can confuse your audience and, ultimately, reflect poorly on your brand.
  • A content strategy helps target your content to more effectively connect with, and build, audience.  Identifying to whom, or with whom, you are communicating is part and parcel of developing a content strategy.  This ensures that the content you create will resonate with, but more importantly, be of value to, your audience.  If you provide content that engages and is valued it is more likely to encourage profitable behaviours. Bottom line: generic, stock, content doesn’t get shared.
  • A content strategy allows the content you create to build your authority and credibility in your market.  Quality content is a great way to demonstrate your expertise, knowledge and experience in your marketplace.  Creating and sourcing valuable content to provide to your audience sets you apart a having a more thorough handle on your product or service, building more audience confidence in your business, helping position your brand as a credible and expert resource.  This allows for quality over quantity: less content that is meaningful and relevant has more impact.
  • A content strategy ensures that your content is geared to help you stand out from the crowd.  Determine how you can offer fresh, thought-provoking perspectives through relevant and compelling content that will help generate interest and curiosity.
  • A content strategy lends to measurable efficiency & effectiveness.  CMI data shows that 60% of B2B marketers with a documented content strategy “rate themselves highly in terms of content marketing effectiveness”, compared to 32% of those who don’t. The increased demand for content is driving the need for efficiency in content creation. A Demand-Gen report shows that 75% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make purchasing decisions than they did a year ago, with most buyers viewing 5 or more pieces of content before deciding to buy.
  • A content strategy helps identify & hit goals.  CMI found that only 35% of marketers have a documented content strategy, but of those marketers, 94% indicate that their content strategy ‘very closely’ or ‘somewhat’ guides their organization’s content marketing efforts. Additionally, recent Aberdeen research shows that best-in-class companies that use a content strategy “enjoy five times higher revenue contribution from content efforts than their peers”.

Developing a content strategy

  1. Establish the all-important “why” and the vision.  Establishing a common vision is an essential first step. Consider why you’re creating content. Know your brand story and identify the greater messaging of your brand and outline how that will be communicated through your content. How will your content be used? How will the success of the content be measured? How does it relate to larger organizational goals and the bottom-line?
  2. Outline your strategy.  You can’t just jump into creating content at random. According to Aberdeen, almost half of B2B organizations create content “in an ad hoc fashion”, while only 7% of best-in-class organizations do. Clearly, the best-in-class never approach content flying by the seat of their pants.  Their approach is one of focused planning. Define how content is created, compiled, and reviewed. What are the basic standards for content? These points can guide the process: (1) Why you’re sharing a specific piece of content, (2) who your target audience is, (3) what format your piece of content is going to take, (4) where it will have the greatest impact, (5) when you can gain the greatest engagement, and (6) how you will execute the strategy.
  3. Know your audience.  Whoa!  Showstopper, for sure!  Identifying to whom you are communicating is essential and, honestly, the most challenging.  Knowing what is important to them with regards to your product or service, also essential and equally challenging. But more than worth the effort.  This data informs your approach to the content you curate and create.  The most effective and valuable content is the content that is relevant, resonates and engages.  Important:  you can re-use your content!  Rule of thumb:  a single topic can be explored from different angles to develop at least 5 different types of content.  Also, consider the different mediums in which to connect:  beyond words to  images and video, for example.
  4. Know your channels.  Not knowing how to effectively distribute content is a most common problem.  Companies will post to their website and blog but forget to disseminate throughout the channels that are most likely to actually reach people. It’s about social media, people! LinkedIn is a powerful tool for B2B, Facebook, Instagram and twitter for B2Community.  This allows for maximum exposure to product, content, and message.
  5. Analyze & optimize. Can you believe only 21% of marketers regularly measure the results of their content? If you aren’t measuring, how can you possibly know what works and what doesn’t and how to adapt and adjust strategy moving forward? Set metrics, collect data, and analyze the success of each content program. Consider common content marketing KPIs such as website traffic, sales lead quality and quantity, conversion rates, SEO ranking, time spent on the website, shares, and subscriber growth. The tools are readily available and these valuable, actionable insights can be utilized to identify what content and topics to focus on in your content strategy and to centralize, streamline, and optimize the use of content within your organization.

 

Consider a content strategy for your business.  Perhaps you’ve already outlined your strategy and are simply in need of the content creation to make it come to life.  Either way, upended creative can serve you soup to nuts, from strategy to marketing to content writing.  Contact us today and let’s discuss how to best target your audience!